FOOD AND WINE
& COOKING ARTICLE
region of Languedoc also known as the 'Midi' denotes
its enviable central location around the basin of
the Mediterranean. Gastronomically it is as rich as
any other French region owing to the generosity of
the sun, land and the sea. The markets are an important
source for this incredible choice of fresh food. We
cook with the seasons, tempted by colours and aromas
that stimulate our imagination and arouse our creativity.
Languedoc plain is home to some of France's greatest
fruit and vegetable-growing with Mediterranean favourites
such as peppers, artichokes, tomatoes and aubergines
and mounds of melons, peaches and apricots sun-ripened
Natural coastal lagoons or 'etangs' provide a home
for flamingos and a perfect habitat for oysters and
mussels and a variety of other marine life. Sete is
the biggest fishing port, its' large market supplying
the most amazing varieties of fresh fish; anchovies,
sardines, red mullet, tuna, sea bream, baby squid
bulls graze on the rich grasslands of the Rhone delta
in the Camargue. The revered rice of the region is
also grown on the surrounding marshland and the salt
pans are home to the special hand harvested salt 'fleur
groves are fewer than one might imagine as many were
wiped out after the severe frost of 1956, and there
has been a reluctance to replant. However, the remaining
few provide treasured oils that rarely leave the region.
The oval shaped Lucque olive is unique and enjoyed
served with a glass of Muscat or rose wine as an aperitif.
The 'garrigue', scrubland of the hillsides, are scented
with wild herbs; rosemary, thyme, juniper, mint, cistus,
fennel and lavender. Strategically located beehives
are scattered amongst them for the purity of their
pollen. The goats and sheep that graze there, their
milk suitably enriched, imparts its flavours to the
cheese it becomes.
the world famous blue cheese, is still made and matured
in the limestone caves of the Larzac plateau from
milk of the Lacune sheep and goats' cheeses of all
shapes and sizes are local specialities, especially
the handmade Pelardon.
hillsides hide wild mushrooms, truffles, chestnuts,
wild boar and game, which together with the celebrated
dish of cassoulet, provide the basis for the Languedoc
winter diet which completes the annual cycle of seasons
and supplies us with the best of everything we could
is no surprise that the Mediterranean diet is considered
one of the healthiest in the world; it is not only
fun to shop and prepare the ingredients but best of
all . . . to eat them!
is the world's largest wine region and one of the
most exciting wine producing areas of France. The
region stretches from Nimes in the east to the Spanish
border in the west, a plain sandwiched between the
mountains and the Mediterranean.
consists of a multitude of appellations including;
Coteaux du Languedoc, Faugeres, St Chinian, Corbieres,
Minervois, Fitou, Muscats du Languedoc, Limoux, Collioure,
Cotes du Roussillon and Banyuls to name but a few
and many more areas of Vin de Pays.
new banner, 'South of France' has been created to
cover the whole of the Languedoc-Roussillon area.
Launched in the hope of creating a single, well defined,
modern identity that will enable the Appellation and
the Vin de Pays producers to work together to present
a united message to the world's wine stage.
region is rich in cultural heritage and geography
offering a great diversity of wine styles. The unique
concept of 'terroir' and tradition work in harmony
with the modern varietal approach and a new wave of
young, passionate and dynamic producers have established
the past this area was infamous for its' poorer quality
viticulture with over high production yielding copious
quantities of vin de table. This is no longer the
case, yields have been significantly reduced and quality
is now the name of the game.
deep-rooted vines of the traditional indigenous grape
varieties such as Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan
are grown alongside less traditional ones such as
Syrah, Chardonnay and Merlot offering a great diversity
of styles and flavours.
breathtaking landscape of sea and mountains, together
with the sunny climate and the rich local flavours
of Mediterranean food, convey the characteristics
of Languedoc's unique and wonderful wines.
and food - the ultimate marriage!
diversity of wines and wealth of natural produce afford
us endless possibilities when choosing a wine to match
our selected 'plat'. Some are traditional, unquestionably
chilled glass of crisp, dry Picpoul de Pinet with
a brimming bowl of moules mariniere.
golden Muscat de Mireval with freshly poached peaches
or a chilled, aromatic rose with anchovies from
full bodied glass of deep red Faugeres with an assiette
de fromage or a garrique-scented Corbieres with
a hearty cassoulet.
it be a personal preference, an experiment, a surprise,
or a wine which fits the occasion, the season, the
mood or the food . . . it is an eternal voyage of
by Lits Philipou
Copyright 2007 Tastes of Languedoc - www.tastesoflanguedoc.com
24 July 2007
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